Can the New Mexico State Aggie men's basketball team beat Louisiana Tech on Thursday at the Pan American Center? Of course they can. This is a winnable game, despite La. Tech's 16-0 WAC record and 18-game win streak.
But it's also loseable. Louisiana Tech is a very good team — they could very well be the best squad NMSU has faced this season — and the Aggies will need to play a very good game in order to win.
And although we've mentioned it before on the Cruces Sports Blog, we feel compelled to do so again: The Aggies need to change up their lineup rotation in order to beat the Bulldogs.
The return of Tyrone Watson came last weekend at Denver, where a simple look at the box score provided some puzzling issues: Watson, who missed a month of the season due to suspension and, in turn, a decent portion of NMSU's 12-game win streak, played a whopping 38 minutes in a starter's role.
Meanwhile, backup players Renaldo Dixon (played very well in place of Watson during the senior's absence), Kevin Aronis (who shot the Aggies to victory days before against UTEP) and Remi Barry (who showed some promise this year in an increased role) played a combined 17 minutes, with Dixon leading the way with seven minutes of court time.
We understand someone's time will be cut into with Watson returning. Lets say immediately it should not be Dixon (it's highly debatable that the junior should have lost his starting job to begin with). Both are good defensive players, but Dixon could very well be the team's top shot blocker, and should not be reduced as a bit player now with an added body in the fold.
Aronis also should see an increase in minutes — his time has fluctuated throughout the season, but he should have a more steady role while at least taking the court for stretches of a game. When he's been on the floor he's looked good.
One key for NMSU beating La. Tech: The team's bench will have to play well, because the Bulldogs use their's effectively. Lets hope some roles are changed, and some key players are used wisely Thursday.
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